‘What You Sign Up For’ When You Marry Into the Military

The first installment in the New York Times Deployment Diary


Through the lump in my throat, I’ve just finished telling my friend that my husband, a lieutenant in the United States Navy, is leaving again in a few days. It will be his fourth deployment since we were married, the first since the birth of our two children.

She looks at me, sympathy and confusion in her eyes and asks, “But you had to know what you signed up for, right?”

I tilt my head slightly, furrow my brow, and contemplate an appropriate response to what feels like an attack. I remember the “for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health.” I do not remember him vowing, “Sweet wife, when you have norovirus and our two toddlers demand constant attention, the Navy will still demand I go to work.” In fairness, I’m certain mine didn’t include “Loving husband, my inability to open a package without shredding cardboard everywhere will drive you absolutely crazy.” No one really knows what they’re getting into, right? With marriage, parenting, a new job: Don’t we convince ourselves that the mystery is part of the big adventure? After all is said and done, you can’t help who you fall in love with.

Click here to continue reading this post on NYTimes.com

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